Thank You for the Crutches, Father

This week’s SCOTUS rulings were significant. And significant changes usually come with strong opinions and strong emotions. Both are understandable. But foolishness is not.

 

We have the power of Christ in us.

We are capable of being both angry and wise, feeling vindicated and walking in humility.  And if given the time to reflect, or desire to understand, foolishness can and should be easily avoided.

Because the internet. We have access to information, hand-held libraries at our fingertips to research, fact-check, and form accurate views. If only we would.

 

But there’s always someone, a recent WNBA player for example, who presents a perfectly teachable moment in gall and gratitude.

 

To those who live in places of actual persecution, destabilization, scarcity, and lawlessness as a way of life–we look like spoiled brats.

 

We are the kids at the party who corporately have everything—homes (of any kind), education (of any kind), jobs (of any kind), opportunity (of any kind), and a stable government (of any kind). We even have the freedom to say even the dumbest of things, the freedom to do even the dumbest things…and still live in relative safety. Minus the chaos we create.

 

And we are consumed with micro-aggressions, improper pronouns, offenses we never personally experienced, horrors that we have been spared, and exploration into the deepest wells of depravity.

 

How insulting we must be to North Koreans. To Muslims interred in China. To the few remaining Yazidis who watched their families be driven over cliffs.

 

I am so over it.

We have little global or historical perspective that is helpful. We have little capacity to see or contextualize the cycles of man as he explores, conquers, wars, stabilizes, and repeats… throughout all of history.

 

Sinful man does what sinful man does. And in reflecting on it, we have the opportunity to learn, better, liberate, educate, and defend.

 

If you honestly can see no value in being American, you have not traveled or read enough.

You have not dined with missionaries, wartime military, or martyrs near enough.

 

Somewhere between undeserved superiority and unnecessary shame there should be vast room for a deep and abiding appreciation of this unique opportunity for liberty we have been given. And with it should come a duty to defend and steward it well.

 

Your neighbor with different colored skin is not the enemy and equity is not the savior.

Your neighbor with differing view on sexuality is not the enemy and autonomy is not the savior.

We have actual enemies, and The Enemy, to be concerned with.

 

We should be fighting on all fronts against secularization and for the continued opportunity to share the saving Truth of Jesus, though we haven’t stewarded it well thus far.

My God, how disappointed You must be with the time we’ve waisted in strife and silliness the last few years. How much ministry was neglected in the name of self, safety, science, and sexuality?

 

Gratitude is the antidote.

Lord, let us see ourselves rightly (as You see us), and be so very thankful that You love us anyway.

 

One of my favorite scenes in a movie, and I am not really a fan of movies so this is saying something, is from Pollyanna–when Pollyanna explains “The Glad Game.”

 

Pollyanna, the poor child of a widowed (then deceased) preacher, was often the recipient of whatever came in the missionary barrels and little else. One time she had desperately wanted a doll but only crutches came in the barrel. Feeling bitter and sorry for herself, her father taught her the “Glad Game,” a challenge to see the good and find the gratitude in all situations. How could she be glad to receive crutches she didn’t want? By realizing she could be glad she did not need them. Voila. Glad all over.

 

Our nation is not perfect, by any stretch, but it has little to do with ancient sin or present suffering, and more to do with proud people, hard hearts, and stiff necks. Nonetheless, it is the crutch our Good Father has given us. And though (far too) many find it imperfect, it is still not the paralysis or amputation that has been given others. In fact, quite far from it. So, friend—Get. Glad. Get grateful. Then, get generous.

 

If you draw breath in America, you have been given much–whether prince or pauper. We walk, worship, and work in greater freedom than almost any other country. And even more unique is that we still remember the faint etchings of our origin and haven’t entirely stamped out any trace of God or good. Not yet anyway. You live in abundance whether you know it or not.

What will you do with it today?

You may have wanted greater good and greater light from the missionary barrel. But He made you Light and put you in the dark instead. Get glad.

You may have wanted a moral country from the missionary barrel. But He gave you the Truth, the opportunity to speak it, and masses of people who need it instead. Get glad.

You may have wanted more comfort, convenience, or lovelier things from the missionary barrel. But He gave you greater freedom and more access to His Word than anyone else at any time on earth. Get glad.  We are rich. Thank you for the crutches, Father.

 

 

1 Comment

  1. Lucille Gaither on July 6, 2023 at 3:32 PM

    Amen, sister. We Americans do have a certain amount of freedom that cannot be found in other countries. Though some of my ancestors may {I’m adopted.} have made it through the Middle Passage on the transatlantic voyage, I don’t think that I could have. Still, I agree that this land that we live in is the land of the free and the brave. We had to trust God to make it so. Legal slavery was abolished when the Negro had no voice, no vote, no weapon, but we had God.

    One of the unchangeable features of the human being is the era in which he or she was born or his or her time in history. I’m grateful for this time so that I can be what God created me to be. I am a natural citizen of the U.S. and thus I relish our national symbol – the bald eagle. No matter what Ben Franklin wanted, which was the turkey. Forget him. The U.S. was created very much after the country of Rome, which used to own Great Britain, before the 13 English colonies. Even Rome’s standard bearer in battle was the eagle. And so we keep it going on, on our national seal, dollar bills, and more. Native Americans respect the bird for its character and skills. Just don’t pluck the feathers!

    Let us not leave out the holy scriptures which teaches much about our national symbol:

    God said in the rescue of the children of Israel: “Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself.”

    The prophet Isaiah wrote “…But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

    Our Lord Jesus Christ warned what to expect to see in judgment, “For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together…”

    The apostle John saw help for the nation Israel and Jews during the end times, “And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.”

    So, yes, I am glad to be a U.S. American.

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